Greatest Newcastle matches of the 21st Century (part 2/2)
This article will be looking back at some of Newcastle's greatest matches in the club's recent history. Let's forget the doom and gloom so just sit back and recall and ponder our finest moments that have filled us with joy! Enjoy!
Newcastle United 5-1 Sunderland (Premier League)
Out of the ten matches that make this list, this match is my personal favourite! Three minutes in, I began to nervously shake and I need not have worried after what prevailed over the course of the match.
Kevin Nolan opened the scoring with a great piece of improvisation, a delicate overhead kick from six yards out after Andy Carroll's knock down from a corner. Moments later, Nolan added a second. Carroll provided again, this time with an attempted bicycle kick. As the Sunderland defence looked for a flag, Nolan made the most of the chance to double the lead.
There would not be a proper Tyne/Wear derby without Shola 'the mackem slayer' Ameobi getting on the scoresheet. This proved to be the case as Nedum Onuoha conceded a penalty after fouling Jonas Gutierrez in the box and Shola duly responded with a third for the Geordies on the stroke of half time. At the start of the second half, former Newcastle defender Titus Bramble was sent off. Referee Phil Dowd judged him to be the last man back when he fouled Andy Carroll.
With the score at 3-0 and Sunderland having a man less, Newcastle began to play with much less pressure on the shoulders. Shola added his second and Newcastle's fourth from volleying home the rebound after Carroll's header rattled the crossbar. Soon later, Nolan became the first player since Peter Beardsley to score a hat-trick in a Tyne/Wear derby, heading home from close range after Shola's flick on from a corner. A late consolation from Darren Bent wasn't going to sour the joy I still feel from that game and I joyfully watch the DVD of that match occasionally.
Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal (Premier League)
This is the only game that makes the list where we failed to win but this match is certainly one for the history books as we overturned a four-goal deficit to come away with a draw. In the first half, Arsenal capitalised on dreadful defending to give themselves a 4-0 lead after 26 minutes.
The turning point in the game after Abou Diaby got himself sent off for off the ball incidents with Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan. With 22 minutes remaining, Leon Best was tripped in the box and Barton duly converted. Best was involved shortly afterwards as he was controversially given offside, the linesman denied Newcastle the chance to tighten the gap. A few minutes later, Best scored a similar goal and the linesman's flag stayed down. This gave the crowd a sense of hope that the impossible could happen.
As the game entered the closing stages, a long ball was launched into Arsenal's penalty area and Mike Williamson was judged to have been fouled after jumping for the ball. Barton, once again, converted the penalty passed the young Wojciech Szczesny.
With a couple of minutes left, Barton's free kick into the area was headed away only as far as Cheick Tiote. On his weaker left foot, Tiote caused absolute pandemonium amongst Newcastle fans around the world as he spectacularly equalised. I'm sure you're familiar with the story! Despite this being his only Newcastle goal, he was a great servant to the club as he spent six and a half years at the club before moving to China. RIP Cheick, you'll always be one of the lads!
Newcastle United 3-0 Manchester United (Premier League)
It's always a special occasion when Manchester United come to Toon and this match proved to be no exception as we ran out comfortable winners on a cold January evening to wipe away the post-Christmas blues!
After being the better team in the first half, Demba Ba, on his final appearance before temporarily leaving for the African Cup of Nations, gave Newcastle a deserved lead. At the start of the second half, Yohan Cabaye superbly converted a free kick from about twenty yards out to put the Geordies in control of the game and in a commanding position.
The Red Devils did try to make their way back into the game but their efforts weren't helped as Danny Simpson made a seemingly impossible block on the line to keep Man United at bay. With the end of the game fast approaching, a long ball was launched into Man United's penalty area. A breakdown in communication between Phil Jones and Anders Lindegaard made the third and final goal and a night to remember for the Newcastle fans!
Newcastle United 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala - agg 1-0 (Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg)
Newcastle qualified for the Quarter-Finals of the Europa League for the first time since 2004 and did it in dramatic style. A first leg fixture in Moscow the week before ended as a bore draw, a game of few chances which meant it was still all to play for when the Russian side visited St. James' Park.
It was much of the same throughout the first half: few chances and no one looking likely to break the deadlock. Events changed during the second half as Anzhi's Carcela-Gonzalez was sent off for two quick bookings. A set piece situation gave Steven Taylor the chance to score from close range but the centre back missed his kick.
Late in normal time and with extra time on the cards, former Chelsea player Yury Zhirkov hit the crossbar. With three minutes of added time declared, it seemed that the game was going to extra time. In the third minute of added time, Sylvain Marveaux received the ball from youngster, Adam Campbell. Marveaux cut inside on his left foot and whipped in an inch-perfect cross for Papiss Cisse who headed home with the final touch of the game. With a disappointing league campaign that season, the long run in the Europa League certainly made the season a much better experience.
Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham (Premier League)
A dreadful run of games under John Carver meant that we were not safe going in to the final day of the 2014/15 campaign. Before the match, Mike Ashley made a rare media appearance and notably said that he would not leave the club until either a trophy was won or the club qualified for the Champions League. Ashley dismissed Carver after the season was wrapped up and brought in Steve 'wholly with a brolly' McClaren (cue the thoughts of "Ashley will be staying here for a long time").
It was a tight and goalless first half with Emmanuel Riviere coming closest to scoring very early on. It wasn't long after the second half started, however, that the deadlock was broken. Newcastle legend, Jonas Gutierrez knocked in a delightful cross for Moussa Sissoko to head home.
A brilliant performance from Vurnon Anita enabled Newcastle to be open to adding to the lead. A West Ham free kick saw all their outfield players go up and Anita blocked a shot to set him on his way through on goal however the chance was gone after his attempted pass to the open Papiss Cisse was stopped by West Ham's goalkeeper, Adrian. A moment later, and very fittingly, Jonas Gutierrez's first goal after his comeback from his cancer treatment sealed the much needed victory to retain the club's Premier League status. Very sadly, Gutierrez was released a few days later and was told the news over the phone by John Carver.
I hope you have enjoyed reading through my top ten Newcastle matches from this century. I'd like to know what you think. Which matches would you have included?